Diesel crisis looms in central Victoria

BUSINESSES in central Victoria could be brought to a standstill by a shortage of diesel, as statewide supply issues continue to plague motorists and industry.

Trucks formed huge queues at Bendigo service stations yesterday as people tried to fill up with diesel fuel.

Most service stations were being intermittently restocked but diesel distributors could not confirm when they would be back to full service. The shortage of diesel was caused by issues with a production unit at the Shell refinery in Geelong.

Shell Australia spokesman Paul Zennaro said the problems at the refinery were being addressed and normal supply should be reinstated over the next few days.

“We’re working this weekend to resolve the problem. Shell employees are doing everything they can,” he said.

The shortage of diesel has already started to affect the supply chain of a number of businesses.

Drivers from Vaughan Transport lined up for 45 minutes at Epsom BP to get diesel and said they would be going nowhere over the weekend if the problem wasn’t solved.

R and M Collins Honey Producers owner Rocky Collins said he was concerned he would have to cancel jobs if his trucks weren’t be able to restock with fuel.

“Everyone’s been trying to get in quick at servos before it’s gone,” he said. “It’s crazy. For us it’s the time to move bees and we’ve got to get to NSW.

“If we can’t fill up there over the weekend, we’ll have to stop working.”

Hanson Concrete truck driver Sam Pizzo said his tank would last him until Saturday but he would have to fill up again on Saturday night.

“I’ve been able to fill a bit but if it runs out I won’t be able to get to jobs done over the weekend,” he said.

For furniture removalist Mick Clarke, the lack of supply meant their interstate jobs would be thrown into doubt.

“We’ve been to every servo in Bendigo trying to find diesel,” he said. “It doesn’t look like it’s going to get much better this weekend with getting onto our jobs. They might have to be put off.”

A spokeswoman for Caltex said yesterday their truck fleet had been redirected to retail sites that were running out of diesel. 

“We are redirecting available diesel supplies to Victoria in an effort to improve supply availability and minimise the impact on customers,” she said.

Service stations across the region continued to be in high demand last night as people scrambled to fill up. At Eaglehawk BP, police were called to monitor the queue after trucks began causing a hazard to passing traffic.

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